Earlier this week, beauty queen and Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina posted an Instagram photo of herself surrounded by colors of the rainbow in honor of Pride Month and a ball celebrating gender equality.
The internet quickly called her out for it, reminding her of a comment she made in July 2018 when she said she was uncomfortable with transgender women joining beauty pageants. At that time, Angela Ponce, a transgender woman, was crowned Miss Universe Spain.
When asked about her opinion on the subject, Maxine said in an interview: "Well, kung gusto [nila] talaga sumali, may pageants naman for them, na right for them. Para naman din equal sa girls, 'di ba? Siyempre may gusto din tayong i-share. Lalo na sa mga women."
After facing backlash about her recent photo, Maxine took to Instagram on June 13, 2019 to explain her side of the story. She wrote: "While I was truly caught in the moment, I'll graciously and humbly say that it was misinformed and lacking in empathy and understanding. I know first-hand how it is to feel invalidated as I have been bullied all my life, been called names. That's why I really apologize if this is how you felt and still feel."
Maxine said that she was actually proud of Angela and her bravery, and that we shouldn't be "scared of change," even when it comes to pageants. "I have much to learn and understand, and I am willing to do the necessary steps to more understand the importance of equality in beauty pageants through meeting, speaking, and interacting with people who have different opinions than mine. Equality, I realize, is also about education and learning, not just based on what I know and believe, but also those of others as well."
Read her full statement below:
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